You Will Know Them by Their Signs
Susan Grimm

For years I bought into that whole Alice
in Wonderland thing—passive and innocent, acted
upon, only the whirl of events kicking up the locks

of my hair which I have been known to describe
as lank, limp, hopeless, impervious to all the devious
machinations of my mother—beer as setting

lotion, intricate overnight rag curler twists,
the highly suspect and smelly gels of our mid-century.
Perhaps I though I had to match—smooth,

bright, the hair of the good and youngest sister,
that whole curtain thing where hair masks identity,
mystery is all, attention diverting from person

to shell: Lady Godiva being the primary
allusion here. What do we know about her
as a human being? A rag, a bone, and a hank of hair

without the rag; imaginary pneumatic delights
of the flesh appropriately upholstered about her
under the hair. Or Rapunzel. Love and access

only through hair although I can’t figure out
the symbology of the tower. Shouldn’t she be in a rift
or chasm needing to be towed out, the prince

diving in selflessly? (Perhaps I should mention
right here that pubic hair is not under discussion.
No digression to the armpit or leg-scarred razor

stories, no consideration for the man and his vanishing
perimeter or pelted back or shaven thumb—a skin
graft thing.) So back to my hair, the hair of a girl

growing out of her head, the hair of a woman
living right now (never mind if the tresses
continue to flick and tickle in death).